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The Cross is Revelation and Salvation
The way Christ saved us from the curse of the law was “by becoming a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13). So too, the way Christ freed us from the condemnation of sin and enabled us to “become the righteousness of God” was by becoming sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Getting this point is crucial to understanding my argument in Crucifixion of the Warrior God and the forthcoming Cross Vision (Due out August 15). What is more, since the curse of the law includes enslavement to “the elemental spiritual forces of this world” (Col. 2:20), we may add that the way Christ freed us from the fallen powers was by voluntarily identifying with our enslavement to the powers. This self-sacrificial act “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness which stood against us and condemned us,” for by this means God “disarmed the powers and authorities” and “made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them on the cross” (Col. 2:14-15; 1 Cor. 2:8; 1 Jn.3:8).
God reveals the perfect love that God eternally is as Father, Son, and Spirit by humbly condescending in his relationship with us. God’s love was most definitively revealed in his greatest condescension, which occurred on Calvary when God stooped to become what is antithetical to himself—viz. our sin and our curse. God’s triune unity was most perfectly revealed when Jesus, out of love for humankind, experienced God-forsakenness on the cross, for God’s unity is other-oriented love, and for the Son of God to experience God-forsakenness on behalf of fallen humanity is its supreme expression. We could sum up this point by saying that the greatest act of God’s condescension, and therefore the act that constitutes his fullest self-revelation, took place when God humbly and self-sacrificially entered into self-negation.
Combining this point about the revelation of God’s love with the opening paragraph on how Jesus saved us, we can see that the loving self-negation that was God’s supreme self-revelation was also the means by which God saved us from the curse of the law and rescued us from the oppression of Satan and the fallen powers. This is no coincidence, for revelation and salvation are inextricably bound up with one another. God saves us by revealing his true self to us, and he reveals his true self to us by saving us. Both are accomplished by God stooping to take on the “strange” and ‘alien” semblance of a God forsaken, law-cursed, criminal on Calvary. In other words, God’s supreme revelation, as well as our salvation, both take place by means of God’s loving self-negation.
This correlation between revelation and salvation should not surprise us, for going back to the garden when humanity first fell, our alienation from God and bondage to Satan has been most fundamentally rooted in the false picture of God the serpent tempted us with (Gen. 3). We are alienated from God primarily because we are deceived about God’s perfect character and thus cannot trust him. This is why it is no coincidence that the one who finally reveals what God is really like is also the one who saves us from our bondage to the powers. The revealed “Word” is the” Savior,” and he’s the one precisely because he’s the other, and both roles culminated when God experiences other-oriented self-negation, becoming our sin, our curse and our bondage on Calvary.
Photo credit: decafinata via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA
“Christ is Lord”: What Does it Mean?
We enter the domain of God’s reign when we enthrone Christ as Lord of our life. This seems simple enough. But actually, I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding of what this means. The Bible says that if we “declare with our mouth ‘Jesus is Lord,” we “will be saved” (Rom.10:9). To the thinking of…
The Cross as a Trinitarian Event
On Calvary, the all-holy God fully identified with sinners, suffering the consequences of our sin as though he himself were guilty. While God is never culpable for the evil he allows, he nevertheless assumes responsibility for it by fully identifying with those free agents who are in fact culpable. While the Son alone suffered as…
Zack Hunt shared this video over on his website and we loved it so much that we wanted to share it as well. There are many opportunities to demonstrate the reality of God to the world around us, if we’ll only start to open our eyes and hearts. How might God be inviting you to put his…
Trinity and Love
Steve via Compfight There is a lot of mystery around the concept of the Trinity, and because the word is not used in Scripture some people think it’s not “Biblical”. David D. Flowers posted a very clear and concise article on the history and reality of the Trinity. This is a really helpful and quick…
Jesus and those “Other People”
Adele Booysen via Compfight Nicky Marshall is the husband of one wife (Raquel), father or two boys (Nathan and Elijah) and serves as assistant pastor at The Living Room Church in Barbados. Nicky is also an Artist and Surfer. He blogs here. “This is Ferozah”. I instinctively stuck my hand out to greet a smiling Muslim…
Do Not Fear
We interrupt this election season to bring you the following reminder: [F]ear is a diabolic force. Its ultimate creator is Satan, and he uses it to keep us in bondage (Heb. 2:15). Throughout history, leaders have used fear to rally the masses around their causes, sometimes getting them to do things they otherwise would never…